When I got to Learning Way Elementary this morning for my weekly “Raise Your Hand Tennessee” volunteer session, I noticed a pile of equipment, including a couple of tripods, lying outside Ms. Aymett’s classroom. I figured there was something going on and was just about to turn around and ask the office if it would be better for me not to disturb them. Just then, Ms. Aymett popped her head out of the door, about to hang a sign on the door that said “VIDEO SHOOT – DO NOT DISTURB”
“Oh, Mr. Carney!” she squealed. (Regan is a wellspring of enthusiasm.) “Come on in!”
As the Times-Gazette reported a few months back, Regan Aymett has been chosen as an NEA Master Teacher, meaning that they would be shooting video of her in the classroom to be used as a reference by other teachers. That’s what was happening today.
For the particular lesson that was being recorded today, Regan had the kids divided up into pairs. She had me work with one girl who was without a partner (and, perhaps, who needed a little extra encouragement). There were two people shooting her with video-enabled digital SLRs, along with an audio person using a long boom mike.
The lesson was helping the kids understand what Ms. Aymett referred to as “text features” – things like captions and titles that stand apart from the main body of a composition. The example she was using was some sort of magazine article about the importance of helmets for things like bicycling and horse eventing. (Regan is also a riding teacher!)
The girl with whom I was working was fully on board with the importance of helmets, but had a little trouble understanding that we were looking at the mechanics of the article and not its content. I tried as best I could, but I didn’t have much success getting her attention away from helmets and putting it on captions and headlines.
Still, I tried to at least be patient and encouraging. Ms. Aymett may be a master teacher, but I’m an amateur, a volunteer, and sometimes that’s the best I can hope for.